The Nissan Sentra brings six trim levels to its 2018 edition

The 2018 Nissan Sentra marks the fifth year of the compact’s seventh generation. Since launching the first Sentra in 1982, each generation has lasted on average five years. This may be the last year for this generation, then, or perhaps not because two previous generations lasted seven model years.

Regardless of generation cycles, the Sentra remains one of Nissan’s top-selling U.S. vehicles, trailing only the Rogue crossover and Altima mid-sized sedan in 2016. As of the end of 3rd quarter 2017, the three Nissan models have remained in the top 20 in U.S. new vehicle sales.

What’s new for 2018

The 2018 Sentra trim levels, options, engines, and pricing are nearly identical to 2017.  The six trim levels: S, SV, SR, SL, SR Turbo, and Nismo range in starting price from $16,990 to $25,790. The Sentra S, SR Turbo, and Nismo are available with stick shifts or the latest version of Nissan’s Xtronic CVT (continuously variable transmission) automatics, the SV, SR, and SL only sell with the Xtronic CVT.

All 2018 Sentras with automatic transmissions, except the Sentra Nismo, include automatic emergency braking standard. Also for 2018, every trim level now has a 5.0-inch color display with Bluetooth and Siri Eyes-Free streaming audio and a rearview monitor. We’ll cover other trim-specific changes in their respective summaries below.

Engines and transmissions

Two engines do it for the 2018 Sentra. S, SV, SR, and SL trims get down the road via a 1.8-liter 124 horsepower four-cylinder engine with Nissan’s Xtronic transmission. The S trim is also available with the six-speed manual, in which case the engine puts out 130 hp. Sentras with this engine have three drive modes: Normal, Sort, and Eco.

The Sentra SR Turbo and Sentra Nismo, each available with a stick shift or a specially tuned Xtronic, share a 188-hp turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine.

Tech features

As in 2017, the 2018 Sentras all have automatic headlights, traction control with vehicle dynamic control, tire pressure monitoring, rear view monitors, illuminated steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls and, as mentioned above, automatic emergency braking.

Additional safety and assist drive including intelligent cruise control and blind spot warning with rear cross traffic alert are available as options for select trims.  The subscription-based NissanConnect Services Powered by SiriusXM is also an option.

How to choose a 2018 Nissan Sentra: The basics

We broke the six 2018 Nissan Sentra trims (plus transmission options) into two groups. The basic group consists of the Sentra S, SV, and SR trims. The Sentra SL, SR Turbo, and Nismo trims have significantly greater feature sets than the basic group. The SL leans more toward luxury features and the SR Turbo and Nismo are set up for performance-minded drivers.

2018 Sentra S

The base Sentra S (starting $16,990) has the 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with a six-speed manual transmission. When equipped with the Xtronic CVT transmission, the starting price jumps to $18,140. The S trim includes a hands-free text messaging assistant and Bluetooth hands-free phone system, a drive computer, power windows and door locks, single zone air conditioning with an in-cabin microfilter, and illuminated steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls. The entertainment system consists of an AM/FM/CD player with four speakers and an auxiliary audio input jack.

The single available option package for the Sentra S, the $495 Appearance Package, bundling 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels and a rear decklid spoiler.

2018 Sentra SV

The Sentra SV ($18,960 starting price) has the S features plus the Xtronic CVT as standard equipment. Other standards enhancements for the SV include active understeer control, 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels, Nissan’s Advanced Drive-Assist Display, a smart key with push-button start, and dual-zone automatic temperature control.

Sentra SVs also have a sliding front armrest, rear-seat center armrest, premium cloth seat trim, six speakers with the audio system plus SiriusXM Satellite Radio, and three USB ports. The tire pressure monitoring system adds Easy-Fill Tire Alert and the S includes a standard vehicle security system.

The Sentra SV can be ordered with the $990 Premium Package with the Nissan navigation system and a power moonroof, sun visors with illuminated mirrors, and Nissan Connect Mobile Apps, Sirius XM Traffic, and Travel Link. The All-Weather Package for the SV includes heated front seats and dual power heated outside mirrors for $300.

2018 Sentra SR

Bumping up another step from the SV in comfort and convenience features, the Sentra SR trim ($20,370 starting price) adds 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels, rear disc brakes, LED low-beam projector headlights with LED accents, fog lights, lower body side sill extensions, a chrome exhaust finisher, and a rear spoiler with an integrated LED brake light.

Additional SR goodies include dual power heated outside mirrors with LED turn signal indicators, intelligent cruise control, premium sport cloth seat trim, heated front seats, and sport interior trim.

The Sentra SR can be augmented with $3,560 SR Premium Package packed with the power moonroof, navigation system, Bose Premium Audio System with eight speakers, HomeLink universal garage door opener, leather seats, six-way power driver’s seat with two-way power lumbar adjustment, blind spot warning with rear cross traffic alert, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and sun visors with illuminated mirrors. The package also includes NissanConnect Mobile Apps and SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link.

For Sentra SR buyers who want the extra safety and travel features without the luxury, a $1,020 Technology Package includes the navigation system, blind spot warning with rear traffic alert, NissanConnect Mobile Apps, SiriusXM Traffic, and Travel Link.

Trim 2018 Sentra S 2018 Sentra SV 2018 Sentra SR
Base price $16,990 $18,960 $20,370
Drive wheels Front Front Front
Base engine 1.8L DOHC 4-cylinder 1.8L DOHC 4-cylinder 1.8L DOHC 4-cylinder
Base horsepower 130 hp @ 6,000 RPM 124 hp @6,000 RPM 124 hp @6,000 RPM
Base torque 128 lb-ft of torque @3,600 RPM 125 lb-ft of torque @3,600 RPM 125 lb-ft of torque @3,600 RPM
Transmission 6-speed manual Xtronic CVT Xtronic CVT
Fuel Regular gas Regular gas Regular gas
Fuel capacity (gallons) 13.2 gallons 13.2 gallons 13.2 gallons
Fuel economy 27 mpg city/35 mpg highway 29 mpg city/37 mpg highway 29 mpg city/37 mpg highway
Base wheels 16-inch steel 16-inch aluminum alloy 17-inch aluminum alloy
Body style 4-door sedan 4-door sedan 4-door sedan
Seat upholstery Cloth Premium Cloth Premium Cloth

How to choose a 2018 Nissan Sentra: Luxury and sporty trims

2018 Sentra SL

The highest luxury trim Sentra is the SL ($23,440 to start), which upgrades the SV trim features with 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, rear disc brakes, LED low-beam projector headlights with LED accents, fog lights, dual power heated outside mirrors with LED turn signal indicators, the power sliding glass moonroof, and the Nissan Navigation System with voice recognition and a 5.8-inch color touch-screen display.

The SL also has leather seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink universal transceiver, six-way power driver’s seat with two-way power lumbar, heated front seats, blind spot warning with rear cross traffic alert, intelligent cruise control, the Bose Premium Audio System, plus NissanConnect Mobile Apps, SiriusXM Traffic, and Travel Link.

The Sentra SL comes loaded with everything available so there are no option packages.

2018 Sentra SR Turbo

The first of the sportier trims, the Sentra SR Turbo ($22,490 starting price) upgrades the SR features with the more powerful 1.6-liter Direct Injection Gasoline turbocharged four-cylinder engine and Xtronic CVT with a special with manual shift mode. If you prefer a fully manual shift, the SR Turbo with six-speed manual starts at $22,200.

Other SR Turbo upgrades include larger, 11.7-inch vented front disc brakes with upgraded brake pads, tuned suspension, tuned steering, power sliding glass moonroof, and a center room LED dim lamp. There is one downgrade — the SR Turbo does not have the intelligent cruise control standard with the SR.

The SR Turbo Premium Package, hefty enough in its $2,590 cost that you might as well buy the Nismo, ramps up luxury with leather seats, navigation, Bose Premium Audio System with eight speakers, HomeLink Universal Transceiver, six-way power driver’s seat with two-way power lumbar, blind spot warning with rear cross traffic alert, an auto-dimming rearview mirror plus NissanConnect Mobile Apps, SiriusXM Traffic, and Travel Link.

2018 Sentra NISMO

The Sentra NISMO ($25,790) carries on as the sportiest trim, the same price whether equipped with a six-speed manual or Xtronic CVT. The Nismo includes the SR Turbo features plus a raft of performance-oriented and styling upgrades — it also deletes a few SR Turbo features.

The additions include a Nismo-tuned suspension with increased spring and dampening rates, 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, Michelin Pilot Sport all-season tires, LED daytime running lights, a Nismo front grille and badging, an aerodynamic body kit with front and rear fascias, side sills, and rear spoiler, black mirror caps with LED turn signal indicators, and a chrome exhaust finisher.

The Nismo list continues with a special tachometer, sport front seats with bolsters, synthetic suede trim, and signature red stitching, synthetic suede-trimmed rear seats with red stitching, an Alcantara and leather-wrapped steering wheel, a leather-wrapped shift knob (on manual transmission models only), carbon fiber look center console and door trim, and a black headliner.

The Nismo model is set up with the Bose Premium Audio System and Nissan Navigation System with 5.8-inch color touch-screen display, NissanConnect Mobile Apps, Nissan Voice Recognition for navigation and audio, SiriusXM Traffic, and Travel Link.

With the Nismo you’ll do without active understeer control, fog lights, the power moonroof, and automatic emergency braking.

Trim 2018 Sentra SL 2018 Sentra SR Turbo 2018 Sentra Nismo
Base price $22,440 $23,490 $25,790
Drive wheels Front Front Front
Base engine 1.8L DOHC 4-cylinder 1.6L Direct Injection Gasoline turbocharged 4-cylinder 1.6L Direct Injection Gasoline turbocharged 4-cylinder
Base horsepower 124 hp @6,000 RPM 188 hp @ 5,600 RPM 188 hp @ 5,600 RPM
Base torque 125 lb-ft of torque @3,600 RPM 177 lb-ft of torque @5,200 RPM 177 lb-ft of torque @5,200 RPM
Transmission Xtronic CVT 6-speed manual 6-speed manual
Fuel Regular gas Regular gas Regular gas
Fuel capacity (gallons) 13.2 gallons 13.2 gallons 13.2 gallons
Fuel economy 29 mpg city/37 mpg highway 27 mpg city/33 mpg highway 25 mpg city/31 mpg highway
Base wheels 17-inch aluminum alloy 17-inch aluminum alloy 18-inch aluminum alloy
Body style 4-door sedan 4-door sedan 4-door sedan
Seat upholstery Leather Premium sport cloth Synthetic suede
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